The alt-right has an odd relationship with libertarians, primarily because so many libertarians defected from the rEVOLution to join the Trump Train and sign on with the alt-right, but they have since continued to call themselves libertarians. There are others, like Stefan Molyneaux, who have some libertarian-ish positions, too, which serves to further muddy the divide. Regardless of a person’s individual preferences on specific policies, though, there is a line between the alt-right and libertarianism.
An alt-rightist isn’t a libertarian who personally thinks transgender people have a mental illness; there’s more to it than that, and thinking that transgender people are mentally ill won’t qualify someone as being alt-right. It will qualify them as an ignorant dick, but there are ignorant dicks in all sects and groups. Personally, I don’t know how someone gets from libertarianism to “I hate transgender people,” but I will admit that there’s no direct conflict between the two, even as I would suggest that hating anyone for any characteristic isn’t really kosher.
This, however, is more to do with the difference between hostility and aggression. The NAP–libertarianism–they do not prevent someone from being hateful or hostile. They only prevent a person from using force, violence, and coercion to take that hostility and turn it into action. Such a libertarian can call me mentally ill all day long without violating the NAP, because that’s merely hostility and [probably] hatefulness; such a libertarian cannot, by definition, support having me arrested and sent to a prison or mental hospital against my will, as that is an act of aggression. This is part of the problem with the whole “mentally ill” thing, because I won’t deny that there comes a time when it’s necessary, for a person’s own good, to incarcerate the mentally ill. Suicidal tendencies won’t justify this, but if a person believes he is Abraham Lincoln living in the 1860s, I’m not going to sit here and say there’s no case to be made for putting him in a mental hospital whether he likes it or not. In fact, I’m not going to make a ruling on that right now, because there’s no reason to. I’ll deal with that some other day.
For the most part, though, there is the basic idea that mentally ill people belong in behavioral hospitals, in the same way that criminals belong in prison. I’m trying very hard to avoid the accidental topic I’ve digressed into. By calling me mentally ill, in modern society, whether the person is intending to or not, they are implicitly suggesting that I should be locked up, in the same way as if they called me a criminal they would be implicitly suggesting that I should be locked up. So calling a transgender person “mentally ill” isn’t really that cut and dry when it comes to the NAP, because there are implications. I just wanted to get all that out of the way.
So here’s a thing that most libertarians and alt-rightists have in common, and you’ve heard me talk about it before. My previous article contained a video that discussed it. Apparently someone didn’t like the music, so I also have to get this out of the way. You can say a lot of things about my music, but if you accuse me of writing monotonous music, then you’re showing that you have no musical ear whatsoever. “Overly ornate,” “too complex,” and “too many instruments at once” have been fair criticisms people have leveled, but monotonous? I’m worried for anyone who would make such a statement about music. Anyway–the thing.
Black Lives Matter is inherently racist.
Libertarians are a bit like atheists in that there are very, very few statements that we can make about “all libertarians.” Speaking generally, most of the libertarians that I know would agree that Black Lives Matter is racist. They would also agree that police forces are footsoldiers of the state whose primary responsibility is oppressing, kidnapping, extorting, and killing the American People while they wear a mask of “acceptable usage of violence.” In short, police are organized thugs. They shouldn’t be killing anyone–and that’s where the libertarian ends the sentence. However incidentally, Black Lives Matter argues that police shouldn’t be killing anyone… of black skin color. That, by definition, is racist, as it takes a subset of a larger group and sections it off, assigning it a value on the basis of one arbitrary characteristic. What is the arbitrary characteristic? Race. Taking a subset of the entire population on the basis of race and saying “this is the value of this subset” is, by definition, racist. Would all libertarians agree? No. Most would avoid the subject, and I do think that libertarians should avoid the subject. I’m only bringing it up here to explain the difference between libertarians and the alt-right.
So here we have a racial group in the United States that has sectioned itself off–with the help of many confused non-black people–and has placed itself on a pedestal by omission. There’s no avoiding this. If I say that “I love cats,” it necessarily places cats above all the things that I don’t love. It does not specify what I don’t love, just as Black Lives Matter doesn’t imply that white lives don’t matter at all. It just means I love cats more; it just means, whether intentionally or not, that black lives matter more. If this was not the case, then Black Lives Matter would simply be Victims’ Lives Matter, or Americans’ Lives Matter. But it isn’t, and we can’t pretend like it is and overlook the racism involved.
The alt-right is reactionary. It is, in fact, a reaction to SJWism. Now, I’m an egalitarian at the core. I don’t think anyone who argues for fair treatment of the disabled, LGBTQ, minorities, or anyone else is automatically an SJW. I’m not going to try to define an SJW, but if you have made it this far, then you know who I’m talking about. The people who run around talking about reparations and saying that Texas shouldn’t be able to ban abortions.
When people saw the current state of affairs in the United States, they reacted. So we have to, once more, be honest about this. There are too many goddamned special interest groups, and way too much identity politics going on. “Identity politics” used to be a dirty word in our culture; now it’s considered acceptable. There is Breast Cancer Awareness, but no Testicular Cancer Awareness. There is Black History Month, but no White History Month. There is Black Lives Matter and the Black Panthers, but even All Lives Matter is criticized as racist, as is the KKK, while BLM and the Black Panthers get a pass. There is the LGBTQ group.
And one thing we have to take note of is that, in every single one of these cases, the identity group is supposed to vote Democrat, to the extent that you are a heretical pariah if you do not. The LGBTQ Community wants fucking nothing to do with me, just like Pro-Life women weren’t welcome at the Women’s March. Because it’s not about representing All Women, is it? It’s about representing Democratic Women. LGBTQ Pride isn’t about representing all LGBTQ people; it’s about representing Democratic LGBTQ people. And if you don’t go along with it–if you dare speak against the group that you are supposed to sacrifice your personal identity to, you are considered a heretic and just as bad as the people not in that identity group.
It was freaking inevitable that white Christian men would see this happening and would react by forming their own identity politics group, and that is the alt-right. They’re not all Christians, they’re not all white, and they’re not all men, but white people march with Black Lives Matter and men marched in the Women’s March, so we have to accept that even these identity politics groups fundamentally fail to do what they’re trying to do. This failure is the reason that collectivism will ultimately fail.
So people noticed this and said, “Fine! They want to form their Women’s group and fight for Women’s rights? They want to form their black group and fight for black people’s rights? They want to form their sodomy group and fight for sodomites’ rights? They want to form their Muslim group and fight for Muslims’ rights? Fine! They all banded together, so we’re all going to band together to! Proud White Male!”
Thus, the alt-right was born.
Now, I’ve stated that libertarians and alt-rightists agree on the premises. The premise is that there are too many special interest groups, and way too much identity politics going on. Again, generally this is true, but very little is true of all libertarians. Put two libertarians together in a room and the only reason they won’t come to blows over their disagreements is the NAP.
Libertarians and alt-rightists diverge in the response to the observation. The alt-right reacts by forming their own identity group to basically fight against the other identity groups.
Libertarians don’t react at all; we proact. The libertarian position is egalitarianism and equality: “We are all individuals, not defined by a few characteristics we happen to have. None of these special interest groups should exist; no one should be playing identity politics.”
To return to a favorite, Martin Luther King Jr. argued that people should be treated equally, with no regard to their skin color. He didn’t argue that black people needed to be treated better; he argued that skin color shouldn’t be a factor in determining how people are treated. That is an egalitarian position. And, it’s worth pointing out, that if black people are being treated badly because of their skin color, then erasing skin color as a factor will have the side effect of ensuring that black people are treated better.
Libertarians continue on in the tradition of MLK: “Skin color shouldn’t matter. For them or for you.”
It’s racist to say “Black Lives Matter.” But it’s also racist to say “Proud White Male.”
The alt-right chooses to fight the rise of identity politics with identity politics.
Libertarians want to see an end to identity politics, because we are not blacks, hispanics, gays, transgenders, whites, males, females, Republicans, Democrats, libertarians, alt-rightists, and so on. These are just adjectives we use to describe ourselves very partially. They do not define us. We are individuals, not adjectives. That is the libertarian position.
The alt-right just seized a different set of adjectives to play their identity politics with.
They are not us, and we are not them. They are not libertarians, no matter how many libertarian-ish positions they hold, and even if some poor, confused bastards still call themselves libertarians after signing up for Trump. There are some collectivist libertarian groups out there–I don’t know how they manage to reconcile it, and I suspect most of those play the identity politics game, too, because I’ve never met a communist who wasn’t a full-blown Social Justice Warrior, complete with confusing meaningless posts on Facebook expressing empty sympathy for people who probably don’t exist as “activism.”
But the essence of libertarianism is individualism. Because we are all unique, precious individuals is precisely the reason that we must have liberty, after all. There is no “one size fits all” that will please everyone or work for the entire population. Because of this, the only thing to do is embrace liberty and allow people of all sizes to be free to be their own size, whenever, wherever, and however they want to be that size or simply want to exist as that size.
Lastly, in regard to some idiotic college flyers that have been put up on some campuses, there is absolutely no connection between anarcho-capitalism and the alt-right. Individualism is a key component of anarcho-capitalism. I don’t care if you don’t know what capitalism is, but don’t you dare paint me with the same brush that you paint the alt-right with. That’s ignorant. There isn’t an AnCap alive who isn’t an egalitarian who recognizes the value of diversity. That’s because capitalism is economic diversity, but that’s a complex matter.
If someone embraces tribalism–or, even worse, nationalism–then they are most certainly not a libertarian. They’re an alt-rightist. I cannot claim credit or responsibility for anything that other people who happen to share a gender, ethnicity, religious [un]preference, hair color, skin color, cultural background, last name, or whatever with me did as my own achievements or crimes. Why not? Because they’re not me.
And believe me, I would love to claim credit for some of the stuff my ancestors did. Why? Because I recently learned some stuff about my ancestors.
First, my surname “Baker”–that is, before the name change–is actually derived from “Beaker.” We’ve never been bakers, it turns out. The name was pronounced “baker,” and eventually the “e” was dropped.
We’ve been in the United States since 1620. The first of my family to arrive here was Andrew “Andy” Baker, who settled with his new wife in the area that soon became Philadelphia–the original heart of our nation. That’s right. My family was in Philadelphia before Benjamin Franklin. Not only that, but the exploits of his son–John Baker–are up there with Daniel Boone. In fact, John Baker ran around with Daniel Boone. Even cooler? My family was sent here to the colonies by King James himself as munitions makers. Want to know what we did with that?
Not only did we invent the Kentucky Long Rifle–which was used to great effect in the American Revolution against the British Empire–but when the time came to make a decision, my family sided wholesale with the colonies, and we used those munitions we’d been making for King James to supply the colonies. We may not have written the Declaration of Independence or the Articles of Confederation, but it was my family’s guns and my family’s bullets that were used to fight the war. Even though Andy’s father was the First Knight of England–no joke–we betrayed the British Crown in the name of classical liberalism and self-governance. And I haven’t checked, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one or more of Andy’s grandchildren had their signatures on the Declaration of Independence or were among the first national congress.
It’s really difficult not to feel a lot of pride over all that, and it has me wondering if there is some deep cultural root to my anarchism. This same family sided largely with the Confederate States, even though most of them weren’t landowners then–and thus didn’t have slaves. My roots go back in this country to the very beginning, and we are a large part of the reason that the colonies won their independence.
But it had nothing to do with me. I can’t claim their actions as my own. I didn’t do them. I would have, I’m certain of that, if I’d have been there. But I wasn’t there. If there is an afterlife and they can see me, I’m sure they look down on this anarcho-capitalist with pride, and I can look back on them with the same pride, but it ultimately has nothing to do with me.
Those people aren’t me. Stefan Molyneaux isn’t me. What, because we are both white, I get to claim his successes as my own? Because the Greeks were white, I get to claim the invention of the republic as my own?
No. I’m me. They’re them.
Understanding that is a key element of liberty. Forgetting that and trying to claim the successes of ancestors–while conveniently overlooking things like the fact that these same people gave us Nazism and both World Wars, and invented the most destructive weapon in human history, and remain the only people to have used that weapon–twice–is a key element of the alt-right.